Palm Beach State College President Ava Parker is getting plenty of suggestions on where a new dental and medical services technology building should be located, and at least two western community village councils want to make sure it’s out west.
Both the Wellington and Royal Palm Beach councils sent letters to Parker, telling her they want that new building at the college’s new Loxahatchee Groves Campus. The campus was designed to be a medical technology hub, which is a growing industry in the western communities.
“With all the development that’s coming in that area, I think it would be well-suited to be placed there,” Wellington Vice Mayor John McGovern said.
The college received $5 million from the state for the new building, which will cover the design work. But the total is expected to be closer to $20 million, said Maria Vallejo, provost of the Belle Glade and Loxahatchee Groves campuses.
Loxahatchee Groves isn’t the only spot in the running.
The Lake Worth Campus currently hosts the dental program and it wants to keep the program and get a “state-of-the-art” new building, which would have a reduced-price clinic, Vallejo said.
Parker is expected to make a recommendation in October, which would have to be approved by the board of trustees. There will be public forums in September, but no dates have been announced yet.
The Lake Worth campus is the main campus for the college, but Loxahatchee Groves has a couple of things in its favor.
The biggest advantage is space. There is only one building at the campus now, but the plan is to have about a dozen. Space is tighter in Lake Worth, where a building would have to be knocked down to construct the new one.
The intent in Loxahatchee Groves was a campus with a medical technology hub for Palm Beach State College. The building would fit that motif.
“It’s a win-win for your program. It’s a win-win for the community,” Wellington Councilman Michael Drahos said. “And we absolutely want to do everything we can to try to get it here.”
Royal Palm Beach Mayor Fred Pinto said the same.
“We really want to see that dental school and clinic built at the western, Loxahatchee Groves Campus,” he said.
At this point, they made their pitches and they made just have to wait and see.